Johannesburg Pride. Photo: Facebook via Johannesburg Pride @JohannesburgPride

LGBTQI+ travellers welcome in South Africa

South Africa is a destination that is LGBTQI+ friendly, as supported by SA Tourism and host to various celebratory events throughout the year


Johannesburg Pride. Photo: Facebook via Johannesburg Pride @JohannesburgPride

South Africa as a tourist destination is LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex) friendly, and South African Tourism is hosting influencers from around the world to showcase this.

LGBTQI+ Media Trip

During the course of 10 days, the group will be visiting various parts of the country. There are representatives of the LGBTQI community from around the world, from South America to Asia.

Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer and the lead for Brand and Visitor Experience at South African Tourism says: “We have created a diverse and geographically spread itinerary for the group.” 

This community represents a significant number of people with spending power. With informed decision making and travel destinations that are welcoming, there is much to be shared by the LGBTQI community in the likes of South Africa. 

LGBTQI in South Africa

South Africa’s constitution is was a pioneer in protection against discrimination and marriage equality, both in Africa and the world. Statistically, it was the first country to protect against discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation and one of the first to legalise same-sex marriages. While this sometimes differs from lived experiences, the country is welcoming and legally protective of all visitors, including the LGBTQI+ community. 

The community is limited in their opportunity to visit many African countries. South Africa has nature, wildlife and culture and is a destination which attracts millions of visitors each year. 

“Notably, what counts in South Africa’s favour is that we have one of the most progressive constitutions globally. Ours was one of the first constitutions that included protection for people from a sexual orientation perspective,” says Erasmus.

“This says that South Africa, as a country and destination, is and aims to be an inclusive country and one that promotes inclusivity and equality. The community when they travel, want to feel safe, feel welcome and don’t want to feel prejudiced.” 

Tourism Organisations

There are many tourism companies which now specialise in travel for LGBTQI+ communities. IGLTA is one such organisation – it is the International LGBTQI+ Travel Association and forms a leading network of tourism businesses. They provide travel resources and information, while promoting equality and safety within the community. 

Another is AfriGay Travel, an extension of The Travel & Event Company, offering LGBTQI+ travel experiences in South Africa and around the world. These trips are planned with an extensive network of travel providers and include curated itineraries.

Pride events in SA

  • February: Pride Cape Town is a weeklong celebration of celebrating the LGBTQI+ community in the country’s ‘gay capital’
  • June: The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras is four days of art, parties and parades in Knysna
  • October: Johannesburg Pride, referred to as Pride of Africa is for all LGBTQ+ME people on the continent. It is an inclusive, multi-faceted community that builds individual and collective pride 
  • December: MCQP is a highly anticipates annual dress-up party in Cape Town.

MCQP 2019 presents The Love Ball

An inclusive gathering to celebrate imagination, acceptance and love; The Love Ball pairs celebrity and fashion with the eccentricity of Circuit parties, festivals, the traditional masked-ball culture with the testosterone-driven love of the game.

Contemporary artists were selected to create trophies for the ball’s winners, namely: Andre Karl van der Merwe , Phillip Tyers and Kobus Dippenaar.

The Love Ball has six main performance areas in play: Head to Toe, Hair Spectacular, Beauty and Face, Move to the Groove, Dressing Room, and The Winners Podium. Fashion is serious business, with guests arriving in audacious outfits that make them feel like their best.

Looking for your next adventure? South Africa has it all – from the culture to the landscape, and, of course, a warm welcome to all visitors, LGBTQI+ or otherwise. Whether you book a specially curated tour or pop in to one of the annual events, you’ll be sure to meet many and enjoy the celebrations.